Summer of Sewing: Belated June Update.

Sarah's Summer of Sewing

I only managed to sew a single item during June, but I still consider it a success as it was the best thing I’ve sewn for myself in years, hands down. I made myself a Suki Kimono from Helen’s Closet in black and white paisley cotton lawn. It’s as light as a whisper, and I have worn it every single day since it came off the sewing machine. In fact, one day I was under the weather and only took it off long enough to launder it — and then, after a shower, I put it right back on!

I don’t have pictures of the robe yet (though I intend to take some for Instagram), but this post was so late I didn’t want any further delay.  I know that’s practically heresy with “pics or it didn’t happen” as the law of the land, but I’ve always been eccentric and pleased to go against the grain of our collective culture.

Sewing the kimono was simple and quick, especially since I used most of the shortcuts listed in this post: I skipped the pockets, lengthened the front band, omitted the inner ties, and left the belt loose. I actually was pressed for time (I wanted to finish the robe before we went on our vacation in Colorado), but I probably would have made the same adjustments even if I hadn’t had a looming deadline. I just like the aesthetic of the lengthened band and almost never put pockets in a garment, especially side seam pockets. (Remember how I said I was an eccentric? Yeah, I’m pretty much the only woman online not lamenting that every garment doesn’t have pockets. I especially don’t understand having pockets in a dressing gown. What are you going to put in those pockets, anyway? A dainty lace handkerchief? Look, bro. The box of Kleenex is right there. Jeez.) I was able to finish the robe in two afternoons (not counting cutting time) without really rushing.

I did have some trouble with the sleeves, but I’m pretty sure that was operator error. I was reading the directions on my computer, as I normally do to save paper, but my laptop was in for repair, and the desktop computer is in a different room than the sewing machine. So I may not have followed the sewing instructions to the letter. I made it work and I’m not at all dissatisfied with the results. I am weirdly, deliriously happy with this robe. It was a minor problem — nothing compared to the difficulty I had with cutting it out. I used a border print lawn, but the fabric was printed a little off-grain, and I had to do a lot of juggling to get things lined up or mirrored in the way I had planned. I barely had enough fabric to squeak out the shorter version with an additional yard of fabric, but it did work out. I’m glad I measured the pattern pieces themselves, too, because the shorter version was mid-calf on me — which was exactly the length I wanted. The pattern is drafted for someone 5’6″ and I’m a little less than 5’3″, but I still found it ran longer than I had expected (though I was delighted not to have to add extra length or subtract it from the longer version, which would have been floor length on me).

My one regret is that I did not use interfacing in the belt. (I definitely didn’t want it in the front or sleeve bands.) It crumples and twists into a little spindly thing, but I had wanted everything to be extremely lightweight for summer use and didn’t want to risk the heaviness of the interfacing. This is not, however, a deal breaker. I’d rather have a belt that was too light rather than one that was too heavy, even if it maintained its structure better. I mean, it’s a wispy little robe. It’s not a structured thing. But I do wonder if I could have found a very lightweight interfacing as a compromise.

I’m only one inch larger than the size chart at the hips and probably could have left it as-is, but I did add extra room there so the ease at the hips would match the ease at the bust. I’m glad I did, too, because it looks exactly right. I am just in love with this robe. It’s almost embarrassing how much I want to gush about it. Will I make this pattern again? YES. Of course. Probably the only drawback about using such a lightweight and soft fabric is that it’s likely to wear out relatively quickly, especially with the level of use it’s already getting. I plan on making a near duplicate one day as a replacement, so I will keep an eye out for an appropriate fabric so I’ll be ready to go when the time comes.

The Suki Kimono was the first item on my 2018 Make Nine list that I managed to complete, too — so it was a success all around. Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s the best robe ever. And forgive my superlatives. I can’t help it. I’m robe-addled with love.

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